Success is thrilling. We all aim for success in our lives and wish it upon others as well.  Sometimes, contrary to our intention, we encounter failure in different forms: being rejected from a job or a scholarship, failing a college class etc. At the time, it can feel disheartening but if we take a  step back, here is what we can learn from failure: 

Mental health is important: when we are confronted with failure, I think the first step should be to take the necessary time to process what is happening to us. We must remember that we are not alone. Failure and feelings attached to it (ex: grief, sadness) are universal experiences. Talking to people close to you (family or friends) or seeking professional help can alleviate the pain. We are only humans; we have qualities and limitations too. 

Failure is a natural part of life: failure is not the end of life even if at the time we feel like our world is falling apart. One way to process things is to not take things too personally and to remember that we are more than our failures and successes. Most of the time what we are living is not a death or life situation. Taking risks is also a part of life: if you try to do something – especially something new – it is not abnormal to encounter failure. 

Alternatives paths exist: failure signifies the end of a goal or a dream but not the end of life. As we live, there will be other opportunities or projects that will present themselves in front of us, related or not to our previous goal. It is not because plan A failed that plan B will not be met with success. It is also okay to let it go and take another path.  

A specific timeline does not exist: sometimes we can feel pressured to achieve some goals at a  specific age or that our lives should follow a specific timeline. If we fail, we often feel left behind and we begin to compare ourselves to others. Even if we think that life is short, life can be long enough to let us experience what we need to experience and realize our dreams. Pressuring ourselves can lead us to limit our potential. Reminder: the definition of success and happiness is personal.  

Life moves on: Barack Obama (former president of the United States) once said that “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It is whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere”. Whether with failure or success, the important part is what we make of it; do we let it freeze us or let it get to our head?  How we respond to failure will help us or not in the next stage of life. 

Money management is important: having a financial backup created for the time of crisis is important. It can help to pay for daily expenses until we can be back on our feet. 

On the way to achieving our goals or realizing our dreams, we can either encounter success or failure. While we all wish to be successful, we can fail. Our perception of failure can influence what step we will take next. It is easier said than done but I wish we can accept failure as a part of life instead of feeling infinitely ashamed because of it. The next step can be to consider failure from a  broader perspective and learn from it.